Past Articles
Oct 13, 2009

President Howie Minor presented James Frye with a proclomation at their Regular business meeting on October 13th, declaring James Frye President Emeritus.

L to R: Treasurer Paul Muth, Vice-President Jim Matano, President Emeritus James Frye, President Howie Minor

May 18, 2009

The San Marcos Professional Fire Fighters E Board  presented retired Lt Jack Mutschlechner with a check for $250.00 to help with Project Graduation 2009. Left to Right Howie Minor, Paul Muth, Jack Mutschlechner, Jim Matano and Craig Miller.


Aug 14, 2007

Jul 17, 2007

The IAFF's top legislative priority, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007 -- which guarantees collective bargaining rights for every fire fighter in the nation -- has overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

 The bill, HR 980, won the support of a majority of the Repiblicans and Democrats in Congress, passing by a margin of 314-97.

 ?For more than 50 years, the IAFF has battled to guarantee every professional fire fighter the right to collectively bargain,? says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. ?This is just the first step, but it's truly an historic moment for our union.?

 HR 980 assures four basic rights: the right to organize and form a union and be recognized as the exclusive representative for employees within a specific fire department; the right to bargain with respective public employers over wages and other terms and conditions of employment; the right to have a neutral third party assist in mediating any disputed issues; and the right to reduce negotiated agreements into binding, legally enforceable contracts.

 Thanks to the IAFF?s aggressive grassroots efforts, HR 980 garnered 280 cosponsors, including 70 Republicans. Only 12 of the more than 2,900 bills introduced in this Congress have attained a congressional majority ? 218 members ? as cosponsors. ?Clearly, our grassroots operation -- the calls from our members in the field -- succeeded in elevating this issue and generating support across all parties in the House,? Schaitberger notes.

 The IAFF will now focus its efforts in the Senate and, ultimately, on lobbying the president to sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk.

For more information on HR 980, click here.  

Apr 28, 2010

Landmark Residential Fire Study Shows How Crew Sizes and Arrival Times Influence Saving Lives and Property

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2010

Bookmark and Share Contact: Evelyn Brown

WASHINGTON D.C.--A landmark study issued today by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that the size of firefighting crews has a substantial effect on the fire service's ability to protect lives and property in residential fires.

A fire fighter conducts a second-story ventilation at a controlled fire during a fire fighter safety and resource deployment study funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Credit: International Association of Fire Fighters
View hi-resolution image

Performed by a broad coalition in the scientific, firefighting and public-safety communities, the study found that four-person firefighting crews were able to complete 22 essential firefighting and rescue tasks in a typical residential structure 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews.

The report is the first to quantify the effects of crew sizes and arrival times on the fire service's lifesaving and firefighting operations for residential fires. Until now, little scientific data have been available.

"The results from this rigorous scientific study on the most common and deadly fires in the country—those in single-family residences—provide quantitative data to fire chiefs and public officials responsible for determining safe staffing levels, station locations and appropriate funding for community and firefighter safety," said NIST's Jason Averill, one of the study's principal investigators.

The four-person crews were able to deliver water to a similar-sized fire 15 percent faster than the two-person crews and 6 percent faster than three-person crews, steps that help to reduce property damage and lower danger to the firefighters.

"Fire risks grow exponentially. Each minute of delay is critical to the safety of the occupants and firefighters, and is directly related to property damage," said Averill, who leads NIST's Engineered Fire Safety Group within its Building and Fire Research Laboratory.

"Our experiments directly address two primary objectives of the fire service: extinguishing the fire and rescuing occupants," said Lori Moore-Merrell of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and a principal investigator on the study.

The four-person crews were able to complete search and rescue 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 5 percent faster than three-person crews, Moore-Merrell explained. Five-person crews were faster than four-person crews in several key tasks. The benefits of five-person crews have also been documented by other researchers for fires in medium- and high-hazard structures, such as high-rise buildings, commercial properties, factories and warehouses.

This study explored fires in a residential structure, where the vast majority of fatal fires occur. The researchers built a "low-hazard" structure as described in National Fire Protection Association Standard 1710 (NFPA 1710), a consensus standard that provides guidance on the deployment of career firefighters. The two-story, 2000-square-foot test facility was constructed at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville, Md.Fire crews from Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va., responded to live fires within this facility.

NIST researchers and their collaborators conducted more than 60 controlled fire experiments to determine the relative effects of crew size, the arrival time of the first fire crews, and the "stagger," or spacing, between the arrivals of successive waves of fire-fighting apparatus (vehicles and equipment). The stagger time simulates the typically later arrival of crews from more distant stations as compared to crews from more nearby stations.

Crews of two, three, four and five firefighters were timed as they performed 22 standard firefighting and rescue tasks to extinguish a live fire in the test facility. Those standard tasks included occupant search and rescue, time to put water on fire, and laddering and ventilation. Apparatus arrival time, the stagger between apparatus, and crew sizes were varied.

The United States Fire Administration reported that 403,000 residential structure fires killed close to 3,000 people in 2008—accounting for approximately 84 percent of all fire deaths—and injured about 13,500. Direct costs from these fires were about $8.5 billion. Annually, firefighter deaths have remained steady at around 100, while tens of thousands more are injured.

Researchers also performed simulations using NIST's Fire Dynamic Simulator to examine how the interior conditions change for trapped occupants and the firefighters if the fire develops more slowly or more rapidly than observed in the actual experiments. The fire modeling simulations demonstrated that two-person, late-arriving crews can face a fire that is twice the intensity of the fire faced by five-person, early arriving crews. Additionally, the modeling demonstrated that trapped occupants receive less exposure to toxic combustion products—such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide—if the firefighters arrive earlier and involve three or more persons per crew.

"The results of the field experiments apply only to fires in low-hazard residential structures as described in the NFPA Standard 1710, but it provides a strong starting point," said Moore-Merrell. Future research could extend the findings of the report to quantify the effects of crew size and apparatus arrival times in medium- and high-hazard structures, she said.

The next step for this research team is to develop a training package for firefighters and public officials that would enable them to have both quantitative and qualitative understanding of the research, a project also funded by FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The study's principal investigators were Averill, Moore-Merrell and Kathy Notarianni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Other organizations participating in this research include the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International-RISK and the Urban Institute.

The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and released today in Washington, D.C., before the start of the annual Congressional Fire Services Institute meeting that draws top fire safety officials from across the nation.

The Report on Residential Fireground Field Experiments, NIST Technical Note 1661, can be downloaded here.

Founded in 1901, NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the Commerce Department that promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

IAFF Contact: Bill Glanz, 202-824-1505

Download the video (38 MB, MOV format>>
Watch some footage from the experiments. (Reporters can obtain broadcast-quality video by contacting Evelyn Brown or Bill Glanz.)
Credit: International Association of Fire Fighters

Sep 11, 2009


City Council Adopts $146 Million Budget
The San Marcos City Council Tuesday adopted a municipal budget of $146,226,256 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year beginning October 1, 2009. The budget is an increase of 0.35% (or one third of one percent).
The City Council Tuesday also adopted a property tax rate of $0.5302 per $100 of value, the same rate as 2008-09. The property tax rate will generate additional revenue of $694,758, reflecting a 5.8% increase in property values—two-thirds of which were added to the tax roll by new development.
Property values increased by $131 million, or 5.8% above the 2008-09 fiscal year. The new values reflected $90.1 million in new development, or 3.99%, and $40.9 million in existing values, or 1.81%. 
The average home value increased from $118,238 to $119,462, with the average tax bill of $628.85, an increase of $1.95 for the year.
The City Council maintained the same water / wastewater and electric rates in the new budget. Solid waste and recycling rates also will remain the same.
“The 2010 municipal budget reflects a strict adherence to the City Council’s goals and conservative budgeting in tight economic times,” said City Manager Rick Menchaca. “However, we are maintaining all current services and workforce and investing in public safety for our community.”
The General Fund budget is $39.9 million, the Water/ Wastewater Fund is $27.1 million and the Electric Utility Fund is $56.3 million.
Some of the highlights of the 2010 San Marcos budget include:
  • Funding for nine new firefighters and the first year of funding for a meet and confer agreement with police and firefighters.
  • Preventative maintenance for City facilities and fleet
  • Technology enhancements
  • Fire apparatus for the downtown Fire Station
  • A decrease in the cost of wholesale electric power, reducing costs to customers
  • Water  conservation and energy efficiency and incentive programs
  • Development of water resources
  • Economic development
  • Implementation of Capital Improvement Projects
  • An upgrade in bond ratings for Water/ Wastewater revenue bonds
The budget contains a projected 2% increase in sales tax revenues compared to actual collections in FY 2009. Sales tax revenues represent 46.3% of General Fund revenues.
The 2010 budget focuses on the City Council’s vision and goals for San Marcos. They include:
  • Expanding Economic Development
  • Improving the Image of the City of San Marcos
  • Enhancing the Region’s Transportation Grid
  • Improving Collaboration between the City and Regional Entities
  • Supporting Environmental Protection and Smart Growth
The adopted budget will be posted on line at sanmarcostx.govlater this month. Currently the proposed budget and other information are posted on the City’s web site.

Mar 25, 2009

We would like to thank all our supporters that helped Fill our Boot's for MDA on April 16, 2009. We will be going out again to collect since two of our days were rained out. To learn more about  MDA please visit

Thanks for your support!

Jul 09, 2008


  There¬ís nothing else in the world like being a firefighter. Every day Chief Lasky remembers why his job is  the best in the world and he brings that passion to Pride and Ownership. Chief Lasky revisits the proud history and tradition of the fire service and reflects on the family values and brotherhood that have made firefighting a truly family-oriented vocation.



Sep 30, 2007

We would like to thank everyone that "filled the boot" over the past few days.  With your generous support, we were able to raise almost $16,800 that all goes towards helping Jerry's Kids and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  We would like to also thank all of our brothers and sisters that helped out with this worthy cause.  We could not have done this without your hardwork!  Finally, a special thanks goes out to Firefighter Holmes (aka - Firefighter McHotty) for organizing this event.  Check our photo gallery as we will be posting photos from the event in the near future.  To learn more about the MDA and how you can help, click the link below.

Aug 18, 2007

Below is a link to a document prepared by an independent Fire Review Task Force that makes recommendations on what the department should implement, that will hopefully prevent another tragedy like the one occurring on June 18, 2007 that killed nine Charleston fire fighters.  Pay attention to the recommendations for staffing and for response to a working fire. (AP Photo: Alice Keeney)


Aug 12, 2007

Everyone should read the following article and think long and hard about what it says.  What "standard of care" is San Marcos Fire Rescue providing to the citizens?

Jun 20, 2007

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the horrible tragedy in Charleston, SC.  Information can be found at:

The IAFF has established the IAFF CHARLESTON FIRE FIGHTERS JUNE 18 FUND to provide financial assistance to the families of the nine fire fighters who lost their lives in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 18, 2007.

Contributions to this fund, which are not tax deductible as charitable contributions, may be mailed to the following address:

c/o IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer's Office
1750 New York Avenue, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006


Jun 13, 2007

Share this link with folks that can make a difference.

Feb 05, 2007

For those of you who don't know, there is a relatively new website out there geared specifically for first responders.  First Responders Financial was started by Firehouse Magazine founder Dennis Smith.  It offers a wide variety of products and disounts to fire fighters and other first responders.  Check it out:


Feb 12, 2006

Sep 01, 2005

May 28, 2005





Members of the City of San Marcos Fire Rescue and the San Marcos Professional Fire Fighter’s Association, Local 3963 made a donation to the San Marcos Electric Utility (SMEU)


Fan Drive
today.  Twenty-five (25), 20” box fans were donated and will be distributed to area residents.  The fan drive is designed to help residents stay cooler during the hot Central Texas summer months.  Electric Utilities Director Bob Higgs accepted the donation from members of the Fire Rescue Department and the Firefighter’s Association at the SMEU offices. 

SMEU Fan Drive



May 14, 2005

House Committee Funds SAFER

May 13, 2005 - The House Appropriations Committee approved a funding bill this week for the Department of Homeland Security that includes funding for the SAFER Fire Fighters Act to address staffing shortages in the nation’s fire departments. This marks the first time that SAFER has been included in a bill that emerged from the Appropriations Committee.

SAFER ultimately received funding last year, but that money was added through amendments on the House and Senate floor, and came only over the objections of the Appropriations Committee.

The turnaround is a direct result of the lobbying efforts of the IAFF. The authors of the Homeland Security Appropriation bill felt compelled to include the funding, despite their personal opposition because of the broad, bi-partisan support of so many members of Congress. More than 100 representatives, including many who serve on the Appropriations Committee, wrote to Subcommittee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Marty Sabo (D-MN) to urge that funding be included in the bill.

“The inclusion of funding for SAFER is a tremendous victory for the IAFF,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “But the funding continues to be far below what is needed to address the staffing crisis.” The Appropriations bill included $50 million for SAFER, a cut of $15 million below the already inadequate funding level approved last year. The IAFF will continue to push for an increase in funds as the legislation moves through the process.

An amendment calling for a larger share of the funding may be offered when the bill reaches the House floor the week of May 16, and the IAFF is working with key senators in an effort to secure a more robust line item for the program in the upper chamber.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act was established by Congress in 2003 to provide grants to fire departments to hire additional fire fighters and recruit and retain volunteer fire fighters. The program is authorized to spend up to $1 billion each year, but Congress decides each year how much money to allocate for the grants. The FY 2005 appropriation allotted $65 million, and those grants will be awarded later this year. Far more funding is needed for the program to address the staffing shortage in fire houses across the nation.

Jul 08, 2009

Les Stephens Hired as New San Marcos Fire Chief

San Marcos ChiefThe San Marcos City Council confirmed the appointment of Les Stephens, a Battalion Chief in the Garland, Texas Fire Department, as the new Fire Chief for the city of San Marcos on Tuesday. City Manager Rick Menchaca selected Stephens, 36, for the post after a nationwide search this spring. He will begin work in San Marcos on August 1.

“I am happy to bring a person with Les Stephens’ experience and enthusiasm for the fire service to our department. His training background will further prepare our Fire Department,” said Menchaca.

San Marcos Fire Rescue employs 51 professional firefighters and four administrative personnel, including the Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, Division Chief and Administrative Coordinator.

Stephens is a 20 year veteran of the fire service, starting as a volunteer firefighter with the River Oaks Fire Department as a teenager. At 18 he joined the Garland Fire Department. Over the past 18 years, he has served as a firefighter, paramedic, driver/ engineer, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. The Dallas suburb of Garland has 247 fire personnel and operates 11 fire stations.

Chief Stephens has an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection from Tarrant County College and is currently enrolled in the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

He holds numerous fire service certifications, including Master Firefighter, Fire Officer I, Fire Officer II, Intermediate Instructor, Hazardous Materials Technician and Licensed Paramedic. Stephens taught in a variety of fire academies and authored articles for national fire service publications.

He served as the Training Lieutenant for the Garland Fire Department and as an instructor at the Dallas Fire Department’s recruit academy. He has been an instructor at Texas A&M University’s Municipal Fire School, the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis and the Collin College Fire Science Program.

In addition to his duties as an instructor at Collin College, he has also worked the last several years as the In-Service Operations Coordinator. In that capacity, he has been responsible for planning, scheduling and coordinating training classes for several departments throughout the North Texas area, including Plano, McKinney and Allen.

Stephens and Battalion Chief Stuart Grant of the Dallas Fire - Rescue Department, have also authored numerous articles for fire service publications and taught many contract classes for departments throughout Texas.

Stephens is married to his high school sweetheart, Marcia, and they have two children, Wyatt, age 5 and Lexie, age 2.

Mayor Susan Narvaiz and the City Council will hold a swearing-in ceremony for Chief Stephens in early August.

Aug 17, 2008

The schedule of budget sessions includes:


  • August 19: First public hearing on tax rate and public hearing on the proposed budget; Workshop to discuss Compensation/ Classification study results.

  • September 2: Second public hearing on the flat tax rate; second reading and discussion of proposed water/ wastewater rates.

  • September 16: City Council will consider adoption of the 2009 budget and property tax rate on emergency and final reading of water/ wastewater rates.

Jul 05, 2008

Hackensack Ford: What went wrong

Jun 23, 2007

The following link has some good videos describing what we do.

Jun 13, 2007

Recognizing the need to do more to prevent line-of-duty deaths and injuries, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has developed a national program to bring prevention efforts to the forefront.

Mar 25, 2007

March 22, 2007 ? As defenders of the homeland, the mission of fire fighters and military service personnel is much the same. That kinship has inspired many fire fighters to lend their assistance to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including members of Seguin, TX Local 4122, who raised $3,016 for Operation Helmet.

The Operation Helmet program provides soldiers with potentially life-saving upgrades to ballistic helmets ? free of charge. These upgrades are currently only issued to the military's most elite forces and do not filter down to Reserve and National Guard forces. So, many soldiers are serving without the proper equipment to ensure their safety.

?When our local president ? Mark Kublank ? heard about the program, he was really impressed with it,? says Chris Chomel, member and spokesperson for Local 4122. ?Even though we don?t have any members serving, we wanted to get involved. So, we organized a Fill-the-Boot drive to benefit the program.?

Seguin fire fighters went out March 17 and, in four short hours, raised the money. Four area businesses also wrote checks for more than $100 each.

?Considering that Seguin only has a population of 25,000, we were really pleased with the generosity everyone showed,? says Chomel.

The current government-issued helmets only protect against gunfire and flying debris, are uncomfortable and offer little or no protection from concussion-causing blasts.

The upgrade kits, which cost $98.65 each, consist of shock-absorbing pads and a new strap system that improves comfort and stability. One of the most important kit benefits is that it keeps the helmet from sliding forward over the eyes.

To donate, send checks to:

Operation Helmet
74 Greenview Street
Montgomery, TX 77356

May 15, 2006

We would like to congratulate our brothers to the South on their recent Civil Service victory.  For more information, read the following article.

Aug 08, 2006
August 4, 2006 ? The IAFF has won an unprecedented congressional victory in the successful passage of its HELPs retiree health care proposal and the elimination of early withdraw penalties from Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) accounts. Both proposals have been top IAFF legislative priorities this year.
Jun 13, 2007

IAFF Announces 2007 Fire and EMS Safety Stand Down

April 5, 2007 -- The IAFF encourages all affiliates and members to participate in the Third International Fire and EMS Safety Stand Down, to be held during the week of June 17-23, 2007. This year's event offers maximum opportunity for fire departments to include all possible duty shifts. In addition to the expanded schedule, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has been added as an area of focus because of the integral role fire departments have in EMS in communities across the United States and Canada.

The annual event calls for all U.S. and Canadian fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity and instead focus entirely on fire and EMS safety. Programs and resources designed to improve member safety will be available from the IAFF to use in planning Stand Down activities.

The theme for the 2007 Stand Down, "Ready to Respond," reflects the many types of emergencies to which fire fighters and EMS personnel respond, and focuses on proper training, preparation and equipment required to answer the call and return safely.

"Fire fighter injury and death continue to occur at a consistent rate," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. "We can and must do more to reduce the risks, thereby reducing the injuries and deaths to fire fighters."

The Stand Down is designed to bring international attention to the need to address preventable line-of-duty injuries and deaths among fire fighters. The IAFF encourages labor and management to work together to address and improve fire fighter health and safety.

For more information, contact the IAFF Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine at (202) 824-9304 or the IAFF Department of Fire/EMS Operations at (202) 824-1594.

The 2007 International Fire and EMS Safety Stand Down is co-sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).

For more info go to:

Jun 18, 2005
International Association of Fire Fighters

Your Participation in Stand Down Day Is Important!

 (Click the Title for more)

Jun 10, 2005

The Firefighter Life Safety Summit held in Tampa, Florida, in March 2004, produced 16 major initiatives that will give the fire service a blueprint for making changes.  They can be found at the following link:

FF Life Safety Initiatives

Jun 06, 2005

The overall construction activity in San Marcos is strong and is currently exceeding the average monthly construction value for the past three years. During the first quarter of 2005, approximately $7.8 million per month in new construction permitting is occurring compared to an average of $2.3 million per month during the past 36 months.  Residential development has been off during the first quarter of 2005. However, single-family permits in April and May are above the San Marcos monthly average. We are on track to issue 20 permits for new single-family homes in May which will exceed our highest monthly average in 23 years.  No new multi-family development has been permitted through April 2005. However, several multi-family projects are currently moving through the development process.  Significant projects permitted this year include the expansion of the Factory Outlet Mall and the new construction of World Gym and Comfort Suites.

May 28, 2005

San Marcos Fire Department needs to upgrade its services to maintain its current protection rating.

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